May 13, 2014

Personal Emergency Response Systems

Protecting our elderly loved ones comes naturally, especially when they are not as strong and nimble-footed as they once were. Having a senior loved one who lives alone or is alone for any stretch of time can be worrisome for family members. The makers of medical and emergency response systems promise some level of peace of mind knowing that older adults can be just a press of a button away from rescue. Bracelets or pendants connected to a medical system promise immediate help whether the senior has had a fall, seizure or heart attack. In the past decade sales of these devices have skyrocketed due to the baby boom generation advancing in age.
What began in the 1970’s as a simple push button device has advanced technologically to two-way communication devices and links to EMT and medical professionals. However, due to the large number of systems, options and programs offered, choosing one that is right for your loved one may be a bit confusing. We researched the top selling and most popular types of medical systems along with studies done by Consumer Reports to bring you a Resource Guide to help you sort it all out. Here are some of our findings as well as links to more information.
Most plans include 24 hour monitoring and have bracelets and/or pendants that are waterproof. Before you begin sifting through all the other services that can come with the systems ask yourself what you think you need. For example:

  • Do you need a system for a specific disability such a family member who has limited use of hands who may need a voice activation?
  • Do you need a system to contact multiple people such as neighbors, family members or 911?
  • Do you need a wide range of access for multiple leveled homes?
    Do you need daily “check in” by the company with the senior?

Once you have considered what type of service you would like, Consumer Reports suggests that you look further into the top rated and most popular brands.
Life Alert – Costs between $30-$40 a month and offers GPS Mobile, 911 Mobile and a range of 300 feet. The GPS Mobile means it will work when you are not at home.
LifeStation – Costs between $25-$33 per month and offers Mobile 911 and a 500 foot range.
Medical Alert – Costs between $30-$35 a month and offers GPS Mobile, 911 Mobile and a 600 foot range. In addition it has Automatic Fall Detection.
Mobile Help– Costs around $35 a month and offers GPS Mobile and range up to 600 feet. It also offers Automatic Fall Detection.
Philips LIfeline – Costs $30-$42 a month ranges up to 600 feet and has Automatic Fall Detection.
Rescue Alert – Costs between $29-$43 a month and offers Mobile 911 and up to 600 feet of range.
Source: Consumer Reports Summer 2014